This story is part ofour year-round collection of the best gift ideas.
Giving someone a laptop gift can be challenging unless you know how they’re most likely to use it. For example, a student who is using their laptop for word processing or streaming has way different needs and expectations than a PC gamer. Our recommendations take many different laptop users into account and are designed to help make your decision easier.
Regardless of whom you’re shopping for, though, now is the best time of year to find a lower price on a new laptop or tablet. If you need more options than those listed below, check out our fullwhere you’ll also find links to our top picks across all categories of laptops.
Most, if not all, of these laptops and tablets will be discounted through the holiday shopping season. The prices listed below are the available deals we’ve found. But, deals come and go, so we will continue to update this list with current sale prices as we spot them.
Thanks to a new design, a larger display (13.6 inches versus the previous 13.3 inches), a faster M2 chip and a long-awaited upgrade to a higher-res webcam, the 2022 version of the MacBook Air remains our top choice for the most universally useful laptop in Apple’s lineup, with one caveat. At $1,199, the $200 increase over the traditional $999 MacBook Air starting price is a disappointment. That’s why the less expensive MacBook Air M1 is still our go-to recommendation for a MacOS laptop for basic everyday use. Still, we like everything else about it and is our first choice if you’re considering an Air and don’t mind spending more.
HP packed a lot of value into the Aero 13: Eye-pleasing magnesium-aluminum chassis, strong processing performance, long battery life, a bright, colorful display and a weight of around 2 pounds (0.91 kilograms). Amazingly, with all that it offers though, it has a starting price of $550.
Read our HP Pavilion Aero 13 review.
This thin, 3-pound convertible is a solid choice for anyone who needs a laptop for office or schoolwork. The all-metal chassis gives it a premium look and feel, and it has a comfortable keyboard and a responsive, smooth precision touchpad. Though it’s light on extra features compared to its premium linemate, the Yoga 9i, it does have one of Lenovo’s sliding shutters for its webcam that gives you privacy when you want it. And it has a long battery life to boot at 12 hours, 45 minutes in our tests. The latest version with 12th-gen Intel processors starts at $999 (although I expect some holiday discounts will be available).
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Acer had one of the best Chromebooks available in 2021 with the Spin 713, and now it’s repeated that success with the Chromebook Spin 714. The premium two-in-one doesn’t stray far from its predecessor in terms of what it offers, but Acer did make some changes to keep it competitive, like including a USI pen that stores and charges in the 714’s body. There are less expensive options, but if you want a Chromebook that’ll last for years, this is it. Keep an eye out for a sale on this one: Its normal price is $729, but can be regularly found for $579.
Acer Chromebook Spin 714 review
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The ninth-gen entry-level iPad gains a couple of useful extras over last year’s solid but unexciting model: more storage for $330 (64GB, rather than the ridiculously low 32GB of the last model), a faster A13 chip and better cameras (most importantly, a wider-angle higher-res front-facing Center Stage camera that tracks your face via digital pan and zoom). It still uses the first-gen Apple Pencil, which is fine for the money, and it’s still compatible with a range of keyboard cases. Its predecessors were often on sale for $299 or less and that should be true this holiday season as well.
If you’re planning to do any sort of art on it or download a lot of videos to go, it’s definitely worth opting for the 256GB model. It really needs a 128GB option — it’s annoying that you’re forced to buy more than you need since 128GB would probably be the sweet spot for price and storage.
The 2020 model has the slower A12 Bionic chip, but it’s also the last remaining full-size iPad with a headphone jack. Going back yet another generation to its seventh incarnation, it’s still a decent pick if you can find the 128GB model for a pittance; you’re best off avoiding the insufficient 32GB model. It can handle the latest iPadOS just fine and should perform all the standard iPad tasks for years to come.
Read our Apple iPad 2021 review.
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The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 is an awesome little 11-inch ChromeOS tablet with a detachable keyboard and touchpad. Its small size and performance aren’t ideal for full-time use. But the Chromebook Duet 3 is a good pick if you’re looking for an affordable ultraportable device to get some work done on the go, sketch or jot down notes in class or do simple stuff like email, web browsing, gaming, reading and streaming videos.
Read our Lenovo Chromebook Duet review.
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